Cuttlefish how to video
It is a thrill to come upon a big Wakatobi Cuttlefish. They are the smartest animal on the reef and capable of changing color, shape, size, and texture- their skin can actually polarize light. They say there are usually eggs in a hard coral within 50 feet of where you find Cuttlefish which is probably why they tolerate careful photography in very close. It's important not to get lost in the image when you shoot through the lens, you must not touch the reef or bottom with a fin or knee to protect the corals and yourself. (Stonefish etc. are invisible if you are preoccupied, and all corals are fragile and slow growing.)
Having a single point of contact from a carefully placed reef stick, or a hand hold on a convenient rock is the best way to keep your orientation. If you let go of this point, either stop shooting or make sure you are drifting up and slowly away from the scene. You can use your breathing to control the buoyancy. If you turn around and see the Cuttlefish exactly as you found her you have done it correctly. A sharp eye will note that in this video we broke this rule by adding a second photographer.
These images were all shot with a fisheye lens stopped down to fit the brightness of the water column- around F-11-F18 a shutter of 160th second, and an ISO of 160. Two DS-161 strobes set to TTL light the animal with varying power depending on how close the cuttlefish is, and what color it is displaying when hit with the flash. Cuttlefish can be pretty bright reflective whites and yellows, then turn to a deep light absorbing red, and this change can cause a change in proper flash exposure. Since the animal is filling the frame the TTL will automatically adjust the power so you don't have to switch settings in the middle of a brief encounter.